As the Democratic Party of New Mexico pointed out in an official statement about HB 206, the revised bill still represents a dangerous step toward criminalizing abortion. “The bill still makes it a crime to ‘facilitate’ an abortion for a woman who wants one,” Scott Forrester, the director of the group, explained. “That means doctors, nurses, or anyone else who works at a health care clinic where this is one of the services provided would still be guilty of a felony.”
Targeting abortion providers is simply an indirect method of limiting women’s reproductive access, and it has been a successful tactic for anti-choice lawmakers across the country. Abortion opponents often subject abortion clinics and providers to burdensome regulations that aren’t placed on other medical professionals — and doctors who break those rules are typically faced with harsh consequences, like losing their medical licenses.
Brown isn’t the first GOP lawmaker to go as far as to suggest that doctors who perform abortions should be subject to criminal charges. But singling out the doctors who work in this field is having serious consequences. Partly due to the obstacles placed in front of the medical professionals who perform abortions, as well as rising levels of anti-abortion harassment, the country currently has a shortage of abortion doctors — particularly in states that are especially hostile to abortion rights, like New Mexico.